Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Creature Class Critique #10: Forces

Are the Forces with you? Maybe they should be!

Forces are elements of nature itself that manifest in many forms, some unlikely, others dangerously. When you have a Force on your side, match-ups can change abruptly and victory can be snatched from defeat.

There are at least 11 Forces, though there isn't one that ties them all togethers. They are all Elementals with Vitalities of 12 or less. Most are non-bribable, most cannot fly, and they vary in size. None recieve channeling. So there are no common threads as there are with, say, Spirits (which I sometimes confuse a couple with).

The largest connections: 3 have Swamps bonuses (plus one each in Spires
and Rivers and Lakes), 3 have decent off-color bonuses, 2 are anti-channeling, 2 don't allow secondary attackers. Those ideas are okay for theme decks, so some Forces could have a secondary role in a deck.

In fact, the two most famous Forces in the game, by their very nature, must take secondary roles. They are Corruption Stream (which wins as a secondary attacker, period, end of battle) and Djinn (which ties any primary match-up, that's all she wrote). If you control the forces around you, you can control the creature forces in your opponent's combat hand.

Two other cards worth mentioning: Tangle Web and Water Spout. The Tangle Web is a handy creature in any anti-flying deck. The best method to prevent flying is the use of Spires, and as long as you have Spires
anyway . . . The Web is one of only three creatures with bonuses in Spires (the Sliphs in Dagger Isle are the other two), but Tangle Web has a great ability -- it can kill creatures that beat it. Consider it
the anti-healer -- if you stay on the space, your creature lives, but if you don't it dies.

I have two things to say about the Water Spout. First, I was calling it a Spirit for a long time because it seems like it should be one to me. Second, it's Vitality 4 with 3 bonus in Rivers & Lakes, that's nearly double! Combine it with a Grotto Troll for a bonus in Rivers and Lakes or with Barnacle Bazluee for a bonus to your R&L bonus.

The list of Forces includes: Annihilator Cloud, Corruption Stream, Djinn, Energy Leach, Energy Toad, Fire Walker, Mist Veiler, Primordial Goo, Roving Force Inferno, Tangle Web and Water Spout.

But as long as you're trying to corner the market on the Force, remember two spells that fit the theme nicely: Detect Life Force (a useful tool when deciding whether to attack or even if your opponent is just bluffing with that little stack) and Force Barrier (stops his progress cold -- but be careful, the Barrier can get in your way, too).

Summary: You can't make a deck out of Forces alone, but they support so many different deck types. It's hard to imagine a deck that can't get some use from a Djinn, though a Corruption Stream is a little harder to stack (get a Petrified Heart!). Some great cards.

C. J. Burke
Keeper of the Flame

Combined Forces: Spell, up 6.
Play as command card. In any primary match-up, you may play any Force as a ranged-attack with a value of half its Vitality (rounded up). You may only do this if your primary match-up creature is a Force.

(Yes, this will bump up the Annihilator Cloud 2 points and the Energy Toad 1 point. I have no problem with that. If you want to play it with a Djinn, that's your own strangeness, leave me out of it.)

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